TEMPLETON - A fire that started during an open mic night at a Templeton pub destroyed the bar and the historic building where it stood Wednesday night.
Smoke and flames could be seen coming from the Otter River Pub around 11 p.m. Templeton Fire Chief David Dickie said the fire started when the first-floor bar was still open, but fortunately everyone inside was able to escape unhurt.
The more than 100-year-old building is a total loss, Dickie said. More than 50 firefighters from surrounding towns were on scene for hours.
The cause of the fire is under investigation but Dickie said early evidence suggests it was accidental.
A Facebook post from the bar earlier on Wednesday said it was hosting an open mic night and songwriting contest. The pub had also said it was undergoing renovations this summer and only recently reopened as a "full service" bar in mid-September.
"We may have lost a building but no one was injured and all of our amazing memories will live on forever," the Otter River Pub said in a Facebook post following the fire.
Residents said the owner put a lot of money into remodeling the historic building, which dated back to the 1880s. It only reopened less than a week ago.
"It's devastating. We are just glad that no one got injured," said Templeton resident Donna Libby.
Dozens of people visited the burned out shell of the building Thursday, saying they felt called to pay a visit.
"I'm 56 and I've been as a little kid growing up, this has always been here," said Templeton resident Bob LaPonte. "A lot of people came here, local bands, they would gather, play here. Good music, some fun."
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